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Australia wins Oceania Tournament, headed to Olympics

autralia-Patty Mills

We’ve been giving you regular updates on what is happening with the Olympic qualifying tournaments taking place in Europe and South America right now.

But we haven’t really discussed the Oceania qualifier that just wrapped up — because it is pretty much always won by Australia. And was again Friday, with the Aussies beating New Zealand 81-64 in a game that was close until the fourth quarter (New Zealand was actually ahead by a bucket after three quarters).

That means Australia is headed to London to be part of the 2012 Olympics. They were able to qualify without having Andrew Bogut suited up — he had a second elbow surgery this summer and could not play (but was an assistant coach). Next year in London he and Patty Mills should suit up, which makes the Aussies a threat on any given day.

New Zealand will be headed to next summer’s pre-Olympic qualifying tournament where they will face off against other teams that just missed out and try to win one of the final Olympics berths.

There are 12 spots in the Olympic tournament (there should be more, but that’s an issue for another day) and four teams have qualified. They are the United States (won FIBA World Championships last summer), Great Britain (host), Tunisia (won FIBA African Championships) and now Australia. Two more teams out of South America will be added to that list Saturday.